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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > PTI > Report

No reason why we cannot
beat Australia: Ganguly

March 21, 2003 13:55 IST

India skipper Sourav Ganguly says Australia are not invincible and India stands a good chance of toppling the defending champions when the two sides clash in the World Cup final on Sunday.

Ganguly's confidence stems from the belief that the defending champions have some weak links which can be exploited to India's advantage.

"Every team has a bit of weakness. The top order of Australia has scored heavily in the last six-seven months.

"But if we can get them out early, it does expose the middle a bit," Ganguly said, as India crushed Kenya by 91 runs in the second semi-final on Thursday to book a berth in the World Cup final after 20 long years.

Emphasising that it would be "wrong to write off India's chances", Ganguly said he is keen to find out if Australia are really the best one-day team in the world.

"We will find out on Sunday if Australia is the best side in the world. There is no reason why we cannot beat them," said the Indian skipper, who starred in the semi-final against Kenya with an unbeaten 114-ball 111, under lights at the Kingsmead stadium, in Durban.

"We are the only side to have beaten them before and stopped their winning run in the Tests. Of course, we have to  play really well to beat them and, similarly, they need to be at the top of their game to beat us," an upbeat Ganguly declared.

Crediting his team and Australia for producing better cricket than most of the other teams, he said the current World Cup has seen some "high quality" cricket.

"We have done well to beat most sides and it has been one-sided too. We now have won eight games in a row and it does tell about our strength," he said.

India started their campaign tentatively but rallied after a huge loss to Australia and have since won all their games in a comprehensive manner. Australia are unbeaten in the tournament so far.

Ganguly, who has had a good World Cup with three hundreds and an overall aggregate of 441 from 10 matches, admitted that his form was affected at times but attributed it to the pressures of captaincy.

"There are times when I have played below potential. As a captain you could have a lot of things in the mind. If you  ask captains, most would say their batting suffered a bit after they took the job.

"But I am happy I have fired in this competition and struck a hundred in a World Cup semi-final," said the stylish left-hand bat, who was awarded the man-of-the-match on Thursday.

Ganguly also conceded he did not get much room to play his favourite off-side strokes but said he was trying to adjust to keep producing runs for his team.

"A lot of bowlers do not give me much room these days. They try to aim at my body. But if you play international cricket for long, you keep on adjusting.

"You have to work on your game and do better. That has probably happened to me. I was never a very fluent player off my pads but over the years I have started to play good on the on-side as well."

On the match against Kenya, Ganguly said he rushed through his bowlers from the 15-over stage as he wanted at least 25 overs to be bowled, lest rain interruped.

"I did not see when there was lightning in the sky and Sachin (Tendulkar) then came forward and told me about it. So I brought on two spinners to hurry through 25 overs," he said.

Kenyan captain Steve Tikolo said he was relieved that his team's campaign in this high-pressure World Cup had now come to an end.

"In a way I am relieved as there was a lot of pressure in this tournament. But the boys handled it well," he said.

Tikolo lamented the easy runs his bowlers gave away to Indians in the final 10 overs and the fact they did not start  their chase particularly well.

"The Indians did get away in the last 10 overs. But then with so many wickets in hand, they could accelerate and score nearly 80 runs in the final 10 overs. We also did not get the start which we wanted," said Tikolo, who top-scored for his side with 56.

Tikolo was surprised by the nature of the wicket which was slow to start with but then got quicker as the day progressed.

"When we were fielding, the wicket was on the slower side. But in the evening the ball was zipping through. It could be because of dew on the wicket."

He agreed that India and Australia are indeed the two top teams in the competition but gave the latter better chances of lifting the Cup.

"They are the top two teams in the competition. On any particular day, whosoever plays well would win. But I would give it to the Australians, for the way they have come out of tough situations," he said.

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Number of User Comments: 32

Sub: One more reason...why india will definately win the CUP

because...since last 4 years I have been watching that in which ever match, Dr steve buckno has done the empiring...India have won that match no ...

Posted by Ravi

Sub: India can't win

India has started the world cup campaign on a disastrous note and they will end up with the same result on 23rd Mar. We Indians ...

Posted by manish

Sub: is DADA really destined ?

well....the time has come where fortunately people in India have rose to the understanding..what an gr8 cap DADA is. I am a gr8 fan of ...

Posted by Ashish

Sub: Hey Aussies we are here to win the WC!!!!!

Thats the attitude the indian should potray from ball one......Thats the way australians play there game and so should we..!We should just out there and ...

Posted by Chandan Acharya

Sub: its all in the mind...and saurav has a lot of it!

this is the best chance and the best team india has ever taken to the world cup. all credit to the captain for his belief ...

Posted by jc


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